Klay Thompson did a good job defensively against James Harden on Tuesday in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
1. THE BASICS
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Oracle Arena. TV: ESPN and CSN Bay Area. Radio: KGMZ 95.7 “The Game” in Oakland and San Francisco, KRTY 95.3 in San Jose, KUIC 95.3 in Solano County, KION 1460 and 101.1 in Salinas and Monterey.
2. THE RECORDS
Warriors: 61-14, No. 1 in the Western Conference, 3½ games ahead of No. 2 San Antonio.
Rockets: 51-24, No. 3 in the Western Conference, 6½ games behind No. 2 San Antonio and five games ahead of No. 4 Utah.
3. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE LATELY?
Warriors: In perhaps their most impressive game of the season, the Warriors overcame a 22-point first-quarter deficit Wednesday night and defeated San Antonio 110-98 to take a big step toward locking up the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. The Warriors didn’t score in the first 4:14 and trailed 15-0 and had only three points until Stephen Curry made two free throws at the 4:50 mark to make the score 23-5. The Spurs feasted on Warriors turnovers (six leading to 11 points) and offensive rebounds (seven leading to nine second-chance points) as they took a 33-17 lead after one quarter. But Golden State patiently battled back and took the lead in the third quarter as it held San Antonio to 31.3 percent shooting. Curry had 29 points and 11 assists and Klay Thompson scored 23. The Warriors have won nine in a row.
Rockets: Lost at Portland 117-107 on Thursday night. Despite another cold-shooting night from long distance (8 for 34, 23.5 percent), Houston broke the Warriors’ record for 3-pointers made in a season with 1,083, topping Golden State’s 1,077 from last season. James Harden scored 30 points as the Rockets come to Oakland having lost two in a row.
4. PREVIOUS MEETINGS
The Warriors lead the season series 2-1. … On Dec. 3, Houston ended Golden State’s 12-game winning streak with a 132-127 double-overtime victory. Kevin Durant scored 39 points and pretty much carried the Warriors to get them into overtime. But like the rest of his teammates, he appeared to run out of gas down the stretch. Harden had 29 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. … On Jan. 20 at the Toyota Center, the Warriors won 125-108. Durant scored an efficient 32 points (12 of 19 from the field) and Curry had 24, but there were other contributors of note. Draymond Green’s all-around game was brilliant — 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, a steal and his usual stellar defense. … On Tuesday, the Warriors held on to defeat Houston 113-106. Golden State smoked the Rockets in the first quarter 37-20 and led by 22 points early in the second before Houston chipped away at the lead. Curry scored 32 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Thompson scored 25.
5. MATCHUP TO WATCH
Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala vs. James Harden: The Warriors’ tag team of Thompson and Iguodala did a fine job on Harden on Tuesday. Even though Harden scored 24 points, 13 came at the line. He was only 5 for 20 from the field, including 1 for 9 from 3-point range. In his past three games, Harden is 5 for 30 from beyond the arc. The Warriors also forced Harden into six turnovers.
6. STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
The Warriors’ league-leading 3-point defense was up to the task Tuesday against the most prolific 3-point shooting team in the NBA. Golden State held Houston to 5 for 31 from long distance, a paltry 16.1 percent. Besides the shooting percentage, another good indicator of how well the Warriors defended the 3-pointer was that Houston attempted only 31 of them, nine down from their season average.
7. SPARK OFF THE BENCH
Andre Iguodala was superb against the Spurs on Wednesday night. He turned the game around late in the first quarter with seven quick points off the bench, giving the Warriors some momentum for their comeback. For the night, Iguodala had 14 points, six rebounds and two steals. In his past three games, Iguodala is averaging 15.3 points on 17-for-26 shooting (65.3 percent) with 6.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and only one turnover.
8. CENTERS OF ATTENTION
Warriors starting center Zaza Pachulia has been struggling for most of the past six games. Over that stretch he has averaged 3.7 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent (9 for 21) and committing 17 fouls and nine turnovers in limited action (15.2 minutes per game). … Meanwhile, over that same six-game span, David West has played well, averaging 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists while shooting 59.4 percent (19 for 32). West was magnificent against the Spurs, especially in the fourth quarter when he had 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and a block. He finished with 15 points, four rebounds, five assists, two blocks and was 7 of 11 from the field and even hit a 3-pointer. … Against Houston tonight, don’t overlook the potential impact of JaVale McGee. Even though he was expected to sit Tuesday because of matchups, it turned out that McGee was the only Warrior who could take away the Rockets’ lob plays to Clint Capela, who scored 21 points on 9-for-10 shooting.
9. THEIR TWO ACHILLES HEELS
The Warriors have been sloppy with the ball recently, totaling 18, 16 and 15 turnovers in the past three games. Green has accounted for 12 of those turnovers by himself. The Warriors have also given up 39 offensive rebounds in those three games. In fact, the Warriors are second-worst in the league in allowing offensive rebounds at 11.5 per game.
10. LOOKING AHEAD
If the Warriors are the No. 1 seed: They would face the No. 8 seed in the first round of the playoffs. Portland has won five in a row and eight of nine to move 1½ games ahead of Denver. The Trail Blazers also own the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning the season series against the Nuggets 3-1. New Orleans is in the No. 10 slot, five games behind. No. 11 Dallas has lost three in a row to fall out of contention, 5½ games behind.
If the Warriors are the No. 2 seed: They would face the No. 7 seed in the first round. Memphis is 2½ games behind No. 6 Oklahoma City and four behind the No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers. No. 8 Portland is four games behind the Grizzlies.